Item Details

Price: $9,500
PJP Catalog: 65.446

With 300 Beautiful Hand-Colored Plates of Jacquin's Plants from the Americas


(Nuremberg: auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung, 1785-88). 216 x 140 mm (8 1/2 x 5 1/2"). Six volumes bound in two. Edited by Johannes Zorn. FIRST EDITION.

Quite attractive contemporary marbled half calf, stencilled paper sides and similarly treated endpapers, flat spines divided into six panels with gilt plain and chain rules, two panels with Grecian urn centerpiece, two with starburst centerpiece, one with black morocco title label, and one with gilt volume numbers. Woodcut vignette on titles, woodcut head- and tailpieces, and 300 VERY FINE HAND-COLORED ENGRAVED PLATES OF PLANTS. Pritzel 10726; Sabin 35519; Sitwell, p. 105; Nissen 2204 (under "Zorn"). A hint of rubbing to extremities, three plates with very small portions of adhering tissue guards (one of those guards missing), other trivial imperfections, but AN EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY SET IN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE CONDITION, the bindings lustrous and scarcely worn, and the text and the very pleasing colored plates especially fresh, bright, and clean.

A Dutchman of French origin living in Vienna, Jacquin (1727-1817) was the leading botanist of his day. Sitwell tells us that, "Like Trew in Nuremberg, or Sloane and Banks in London, Jacquin was the center of a flourishing circle of scientists and artists to whom he extended his patronage, and many handsome books owed their existence to his enthusiasm and enterprise." Jacquin became associated with the famous gardens of Schoenbrunn when he was sent by the emperor Francis I to America to gather exotic plants for the palace grounds. Those travels resulted in the transporting of hundreds of plants from the Caribbean, and Blunt says that with Jacquin's species, Schoenbrunn "gave the illusion that the visitor had been transported into the heart of America." This acquisition of plants also occasioned the publishing in 1763 of Jacquin's celebrated large-format "Selectarum Stirpium Americanarum Historia" adorned with handsome engraved illustrations, but issued in a very small quantity and at a prohibitive price. The present work, which translates as "Three Hundred Outstanding American Plants, According to Linnaean Order," contains richly and carefully hand-colored plates that are reduced copies of those original engravings, along with explanations of the plates, as a way of making at least a portion of the "Selectae" available to people of ordinary means.